The loud and vocal push back over changes to 21 city bus routes that began June 3 has yet to subside. Even so, Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle's administration is moving forward with changes to 12 additional routes Sunday as the city looks to save $10 million in fuel and labor costs.
One of the most notable changes is to the No. 4 bus, a popular route among students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. However, the popular route will no longer run down the length of Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki.
“I don't understand why they would cut the four,” said Brandon Pickhardt, who was cathing the No. 4 bus on Saturday with his friends. “It always seems to be really crowded, but what are you going to do I guess?”
Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi told KITV4 her office continues to hear from riders who are still upset over the earlier changes to the city's award-winning bus service.
"I receive calls, email messages from all over the island," said Kobayashi. "People are just so upset."
The city estimates that by tweaking or cancelling certain routes, it can save as much as $7 million. However, the rising price of fuel is expected to exceed the current fiscal year budget by $3 million.
On Wednesday, the city council passed a unanimous resolution that urges the mayor to find the necessary funds to restore some, if not all, of the cuts to The Bus.
Another resolution, which also passed with nine votes, suspends the city's mandate that 27 to 33 percent of the cost of operating bus service must come from the fare box.
Meanwhile, Councilman Tom Berg is urging Carlisle to reopen Bill 14, the city's $1.96 billion operating budget. Berg wants Carlisle to revisit the bill so that funds can be moved for operation of The Bus.
"I say the cuts to bus service have indeed warranted Bill 14 be opened back up so the mayor and the council can infuse $3 million for fuel costs for the bus and stop the cuts," Berg said in a written statement. Berg was the only council member to vote against the final budget bill when it was approved in June.